A total of 1.8 million votes were cast by 72,000 people in an effort to bring a $25,000 State Farm Assist grant to their neighborhoods. For the second time, Food for Thought is one of the top 40 causes to receive grants.
Food for Thought is a service learning program established by students at Delta Opportunity School, which this year is supporting Vision Charter Academy with the kids-feeding-kids program.
The effort of sending bags of weekend food home for students in eight Delta and Cedaredge schools was becoming a bit much for Delta Opportunity School students, so this year a more collaborate approach is being taken. VCA is taking the lead, but DOS students are delivering bags of food once or twice a month.
"It's a nice balance," said VCA executive director Willyn Webb. Logistically, it also helps that Vision Charter Academy has campuses in Delta, Cedaredge and Paonia.
In fact, VCA is looking at expanding the program countywide. "If the need is there, and not being met by another organization, we feel we could operate Food for Thought from the Paonia campus as well," Webb said.
She cautions that a full-scale rollout may take some time to implement, but the $25,000 State Farm Assist grant will certainly help.
A celebration is being planned after the new year to thank community members for their support and votes. At the same time, a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held for the modular units that have been moved on to the Delta campus, and for a 10x20-foot shed that will be used to store food, made possible by Alpine Bank and State Farm.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The top 40 causes awarded $25,000 represented 25 states from around the country.
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board, a diverse group of 30 students who are passionate about social responsibility, reviewed 2,000 submissions and selected the 200 finalists to be voted on.
Food for Thought was previously the recipient of one of the $25,000 grants. This year the voting process was a little different, Webb said, but because so many kids have benefitted from the program, folks were ready to vote, share and spread the news about the competition.
VCA wishes to thank the individuals and businesses that went above and beyond through the voting process: Jerry Reiher State Farm, Delta Area Chamber of Commerce, Lori Reiher - The Kneaded Touch, Doghouse Espresso, 1440 Image Apparel, Rocky Mountain Hair Designs, Stacy Byers - LuLaRoe and Daveto's.
"Thank you to everyone who voted and shared and voted again," Webb said. "You have helped feed local children and provide a service learning program for VCA. The grant should help sustain the program, when combined with other fundraising, for another three to four years."